With our close proximity to Bradford, we’re spoiled when it comes to curry in this city. Whether you’re eating in or eating out, there are plenty of places to choose from, each offering their own style and tastes from different regions and traditions. But until you’ve seen MyLahore, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
With roots in Bradford’s University district, this cosy little cafebar tucked away on a corner of Burley Road packs a mean punch. Light and modern inside and offering a menu as wide as your imagination, the staff here are a busy, brilliant bunch that can’t do enough for you.
Set up by cousins Asghar and Shakoor, MyLahore makes you feel like part of their family, while offering the best food to eat in and takeaway. No wonder the likes of Amir Khan and the Emmerdale cast are queuing to get a taste! We talked to Asghar about humble beginnings, tingling tastebuds and the family values that make this curryhouse hard to beat…
Who are you and how did you get here?
We are MyLahore, a family business with cafebars in Bradford, Leeds and Manchester. We’d always worked in the family food business since we were young, but I worked in banking before taking the plunge and buying our first restaurant with the help of Shak. My Dad thought I was mad! It was weird at first, having a restaurant that already existed and trying to give it our stamp but with time and a developing menu we attracted lots of lovely customers. Since then we haven’t looked back – we’re even opening a cafebar in Birmingham this year!
We’ve always tried to do things a bit differently. There’s an idea about how Asian food is and should be in this country and we thought that was quite limiting.
What do you offer that other places in Leeds don’t?
We were quite bored with the Asian food offering around us. A lot of it was very samey and we wanted to modernise it, make it more cool. We wanted a British fusion brand that mixed fine, healthy Asian cuisine with British classics. Our name comes from the city of Lahore in Pakistan where there are huge, fragrant markets with a mix of beautiful cuisines – and that’s what we always keep in mind.
We also want everyone to feel at home at MyLahore, and our customers tell us that’s exactly how they feel. We work very hard to make sure that after that first visit you’ll always come back to us. Our customers are everything.
What can your customer expect?
Fresh, delicious food that you won’t find anywhere else. We’re always updating our menu and we love to get feedback and ideas from our customers about what they want to see. Some of our desserts are famous and will take you right back to your school days. My wife originally started making our cakes and some of our original recipes are still bestsellers!
We want customers to be able to come and get what they want. It might just be a milkshake with your mates, a dinner with family or a takeaway to eat with your friends while you watch a film. It’s up to you, and our staff take pride in providing an excellent service to our customers. You’re part of our family.
Is it true that you get celebrities through your door?
Ha yes! Our cafebar in Manchester was more popular than we first expected and people used to queue to get in. We had to build a waiting area so people weren’t waiting out in the cold. Imagine our surprise when football players from the two big city teams and Amir Khan started turning up as regulars! That’s a huge compliment.
It’s the same in Leeds too. We are only behind YTV studios, but we’ve had some of the cast from Emmerdale through our doors. People have come from the USA, all over the world to see us. It’s pretty humbling.
Tell us about your online ordering – it’s something of a legend in the takeaway community!
Yeah, we originally used popular takeaway ordering websites but you end up giving quite a large cut of the profits to them. It didn’t make sense and we believed there was a better way that would benefit our customers. In 2008 we developed our own online ordering service on our website, which meant that we could reduce prices and offer a loyalty scheme to our regular customers. Customers collect points with every order and then they can claim those against the cost of their next order.
We’ve added little enhancements as we’ve gone on. You can add cooking notes to tell us exactly how you want your dish and you get a text to tell you when your food is on your way. We’ve just used the great customer feedback we get to make it as easy as possible to use.
What are your best selling dishes?
I think probably the curries and the milkshakes. Everyone likes something different so you can tell us exactly how you like it. Our mixed grill is popular too and great to share.
What are your favourite dishes?
I’d better say the cakes because my wife invented them! I like a nice veggie burger with piri piri fries. We’ve tried to make sure there’s plenty of choice for vegetarians too because we spotted early on that there was quite a gap in the market for a decent veggie choice.
What do you think makes Leeds so awesome?
We’re quite cosmopolitan here really. We’ve been made so welcome since we opened here and the city is so vibrant. The people too are brilliant – but then that’s Yorkshire for you! There’s a lot going on in Leeds with some very active communities. We feel very close to our community, particularly in Burley, and we try and support our local people as much as we can.
Finally, describe MyLahore in 3 words…
Fresh, delicious, family.